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Helpful Hints From The Field By John Matovich


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These short, thought provoking articles were written to help new sales people get a start and to encourage the selling veteran to remember the basics.

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Helpful Hints From The Field By John Matovich

  1. 1. John Matovich Helpful Hints from the Field A series of short articles written to address common sales challenges faced daily by sales professionals. 1
  2. 2. Contents Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Bio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Build Respect with Opening Questions . . . . . . . . . 4 Opening Questions & 1st Call Planning . . . . . . . . . 6 Referrals: Addressing the Customer’s Fear . . . . . . . 8 Door Knocking: a Lost Art? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 2
  3. 3. FORWARD: The following set of articles are part of a series titled, “Helpful Hints from the Field” These short, thought provoking articles were written to help new sales people get a start and to encourage the selling veteran to remember the basics. These have intentionally been kept short to serve as a quick read for your morning routine or as discussion starters in sales meetings and are not intended to be exhaustive on any topic. They are written from the perspective of the wireless industry but could easily be applied to many industries, products and services as the concepts are generally applicable. Some technique adjustments would be needed depending on B2B, Corporate or Government sales. What sets these articles apart is that they are written from the perspective of a selling professional currently in the field selling, who is writing to other selling professionals doing the same thing. In this way, it is felt that the reader is more open to take in new ideas or encouraged to stay close to selling basics from a peer as opposed to ideas presented in a controlled classroom setting format. Rights Reserved: All Rights Reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced without prior written permission of John Matovich. Requests for information should be addressed to: BIO: John Matovich is an innovative entrepreneurial sales executive and marketing leader with advanced skills in strategic & channel sales, solution selling and government & commercial sales. He is a highly motivating, inspiring and energetic speaker, leader, team builder, and visionary. As a proven national sales award winner in multiple years in multiple positions in multiple companies, John has built and mentored numerous sales teams across the country to annually overdrive expectations year over year. John’s strengths include developing raw talent to reach their potential by successfully promoting and implementing a creative consultative customer focused sales approach. He is a gifted sales coach and mentor for top performing sales teams as well as struggling sales professionals and start up teams. A creative and accomplished individual, with the ability to simplify, communicate and market common sense ideas up and down the organization to grow the business. Mr. Matovich has been in the sales profession / people development profession for over 20 years and holds a Business Degree with an emphasis in Management from Elmhurst College . 3
  4. 4. Helpful hints from the field Build Respect with Opening Questions By John Matovich Are you sometimes frustrated trying to in the first place. Besides, I already encourage prospects to share their knew why they accepted the business challenges? In wireless sales, appointment. Well, I was wrong. are you frustrated with prospects who Actually, we rarely know why a only want to review your handsets and prospect accepts our appointment voice rate plan sheets? unless we ask. It is possible you are not building If you are like me, the answers will mutual respect with the prospect from surprise you. A common response I the start. have received is, “Funny you should ask; we are having a problem with Leading a prospect to trust or respect ______ and your call led me to think you for your knowledge from the start you may be able to help us with this is not as difficult as it may seem. First issue.” Wow. Right off the bat, you impressions of how you open the first have already uncovered an issue. meeting will set the stage for early Here, the inexperienced rep jumps to success in the business relationship. show the products or services that Having a few standard address the issue. The questions you always use can help the prospect First impressions of professional rep holds back and asks more gain respect for your how you open the questions. professionalism. It can meeting will set also help you be more I cannot remember a the stage for early relaxed and build client responding in a confidence in their mind. success in the negative way to this This can lead to the business question. It is either a prospect opening up early relationship. neutral response or more with valuable information. often, a positive response. I have two stock opening questions I Question #2 What are your have used successfully for years to set expectations for this meeting? the stage and comfortably open the call. I have used these questions in A common response is, “We would like small companies as well as very large to see your newest handset and review ones. These work equally well in one- the latest price plans.” These are both on-one meetings or in larger group good topics to cover with a prospect, calls. I encourage you to write these but should not be the first items on a down and give them a try in your next “first call” agenda. five sales calls. This brings us to the reason for the Question #1 Before we get started, second question. Soon you are going I would like to ask, why did you to present either a verbal or written accept this appointment? agenda for the meeting. This question is a way for you to check and make The first time I was told to use this sure the client has some input into the question my thoughts were, “This will agenda. Their answer here is very make me look clueless.” After all; I important. was the one who set the appointment 4
  5. 5. The prospect has approached this have your permission to move meeting with an idea of what they will forward? receive if they meet with you. If they do not get what they are looking for, This sets the stage. It sends the are you going back for a second message you are in control of the meeting…? Doubtful. Take notes and meeting and you have a direction for make sure you address their the call. It says you are a professional expectation at some point before you and do not wish to waste anyone’s end the meeting. time. Most people will let you control the meeting for at least a few minutes A word of caution: the inexperienced to see if there is value in your rep, by asking this question, will let direction. the prospect dictate the full agenda thinking they are giving them what When professionally and graciously they want. The professional rep will presented, this type of positioning is stay focused, stick with his/her extremely effective at building rapport opening plan and fit the request into and winning the prospect’s early the meeting where appropriate. The respect. This sets you apart from the client wants to see what you have to start. You can bet that other offer. First, sell them on the idea you communications reps are not can offer professional consultation positioning themselves and their coupled with usable ideas. Then make companies as strongly. suggestions for products and services Sometimes, these questions can work for their business. so well that the meeting can take off First, sell yourself, and then sell your much faster than you may like. You products. Be graciously strong and need to develop a patient ear and stay the course. Providing valuable really listen to their replies. I had one consulting builds respect. rep come back and tell me that by the second opening question, the prospect At this point, you are armed with both was giving so much information he your goals for this meeting (yes, you could not write fast enough. Does this must have goals) and the prospect’s work all of the time? No. However, it goals. You have an opportunity at this doesn’t need to work all of the time for moment to take full control of the you to make a great living in sales. early business relationship. You will never have as easy an opportunity Remember, the two opening questions again to build rapport and respect as are the setup. The verbal or written quickly so seize the moment. You need agenda is the pivot point and your to turn the corner by confidently professionalism will move the process presenting your agenda and it sounds forward. I am confident this will go a something like this: long way to building early respect in the mind of the prospect. Thank you for sharing your expectation. Allow me to share an In a future article, I will present the agenda. First, I would like to take two points you need to cover when minutes and present to you a few introducing your company and the important points about my company following four questions that will open you should know. Secondly, I would the doors for your consultative sales like to ask you a few general questions process. about your company. From there, we Remember, Enthusiasm sells! can discuss your needs and goals and cover the items you mentioned. Do I 5
  6. 6. Helpful hints from the field Opening Questions & 1st Call Planning By John Matovich Have you ever read a book on consultative talk on why a customer should consider your selling and when you tried it you ended up company as their wireless and data solutions getting nowhere? Consultative selling provider. This should be thought out, techniques are very helpful in understanding logical, and to the point. It needs to be the needs of the prospect. I find most sales clearly and confidently delivered. professionals can deliver an effective consultative question set once they learn Here is one of the openings I use: the steps. Starting the conversation is the Allow me to take a moment and share with challenge. The difficulty lies in getting the you 2 points about (Company Name), which prospect to be willing to discuss real needs. I believe are important for you to know. In an earlier article titled, Develop a 90 second First, for some time now our Build Respect with Opening Questions, I outlined one talk on why a wireless network has either the customer should lowest or one of the lowest way to open a first meeting consider your customer churn rates in the with a prospect by asking industry. By churn we mean the two set up questions and company as their number of customers leaving us as delivering a verbal or wireless and data a function of a percentage of our written agenda. The two solutions provider. base. In short, our customers like opening questions are the our communications system and setup and the verbal or stay for a long time. written agenda is the pivot point, which establishes you as in control of the meeting. It sounds something like this: The other point I want to share with you is frankly, we are not the cheapest guys in Thank you for sharing your expectation. town. Now I am not saying we are the most Allow me to share an agenda. First, I would expensive. In fact, we will sharpen our like to take 2 minutes and present to you a pencil; work very hard and you will find us few important points about my company to be quite competitive. But we are not the you should know. Secondly I would like to low price leader in the wireless market; we ask you a few general questions about your are not trying to be. company. From there we can discuss your needs and goals and cover the items you Now let’s couple these 2 ideas together. mentioned. Do I have your permission to How can we hold on to our customers and move forward? not be the lowest price supplier? You can only draw one conclusion; we are the value I find prospects are more willing to give provider in wireless communications. We some information if they can first receive provide true business value to the business some information. Therefore, first on your community. We know who we are. Because agenda is to cover some facts about your of this, we are able to focus on helping you company. From there, I have 4 stock become more profitable and support your questions about their organization or customers better. You see, in most cases, department, which I have used successfully once a company has experienced true to lead the discussion and start the prospect wireless productivity tools, they don’t look down the path of a consultative back. They “Get It.” (Company Name) helps conversation. move their company forward. To briefly cover some facts about your If you look them in the eye and present your company, you need to develop a 90 second 90 second talk with some passion, this can 6
  7. 7. be effective at building credibility. It says 3) What are the 2 best things you need to you think things through. It says you can have happen in the next 6 months, i.e. what take common observations and draw good are your goals? business conclusions. And after all, isn’t 4) What are the 2 largest challenges that that what the consultative process is all face you in the next 6 months? In other about? words, what keeps you awake at night? The other purpose this particular talk These questions are very easy to remember. accomplishes is to give a foreshadow that Simply ask a positive and a negative when it comes to beating us up for price question about both the past and the later, we are not going to necessarily give future. I find if you limit the time frame in. As a professional, be confident in your (ex. The last 6 months) you will gain more offering. As the saying goes, “don’t lower usable information. Always start with a past the price, raise the benefits.” We know the positive. People like to talk about the good value of our product and will work hard to times. By the time you ask the second demonstrate that value to the client via real question, they will get into the flow and you problem solving and an ROI (return on are on your way. Ask all four if you are able. investment) model. To quote Zig Ziglar, “the sooner you bring up an objection, the As you uncover goals and needs, use your easier it is to handle.” You will imagination to start planning your steps in benefit by bringing this out on the conversation. You should the table early in the call. Ask a positive and a be reviewing your products or negative question services in your mind as they From here, you need to guide about both the past talk. Use these ideas to plan the meeting to the next item and the future. your next steps or set of on the agenda - Their questions to fully uncover company’s needs. Everything three specific needs and the up to this point in the meeting has been to cost of those needs. establish the business relationship and to build up your stock or credibility in their I encourage you to string these four mind. Now it is time to start using some of questions together in a tight time frame. Do your credibility by asking questions of the not give into the temptation to start talking prospect to uncover their needs. about their answers yet. This is a time to gather a broad perspective on who they are It could sound something like this: Now and what they are facing. Once you are that I have given you a few points about our finished, which shouldn’t take too long, you company; with your permission, I would like simply review your notes and pick a place to to ask you a few questions about your start drilling down for more information. organization. Move on to the next item in the agenda - Discussing their needs and goals. Now you Insert your standard opening consultative are starting to sell consultatively. selling questions here. I have four stock leading questions I use at this point which If you are struggling with how to make this have served me well. You do not always step flow, review the books, Getting into need to use the full set. Two or three of your Customer’s Head by Kevin Davis or SPIN them should bring out enough information Selling by Neil Rackham. These are for you to start a drill down for identified foundational books for the type of selling we needs. do. Every sales professional should read or listen to the audio tracks at least once a 1) What are the 2 best things that have year. The human mind is the only natural happened to your department in the last 6 resource that gets larger with use. I months? encourage you to take responsibility for 2) What are the 2 worst things that have expanding your sales skills and read good happened to your department in the last 6 sales books regularly. months? Remember, Enthusiasm sells! 7
  8. 8. Helpful hints from the field Referrals: Addressing the Customer’s Fear By John Matovich Do you freely give referrals when asked? I have asked that question to “Mr. Jones, would you feel comfortable hundreds of sales reps and it is giving me the names of two or three interesting to note that many of them business people like yourself that you do not give referrals…at least not feel should be considering our easily. products and services in their business or department? My goal is to introduce Why are we hesitant to give out the myself and simply place a business names of our friends or associates? card with a brochure in their files. This And, if we are hesitant to give them way, when the discussion of wireless out personally, does this lead us to services like Voice or GPS Data comes being hesitant to ask for referrals? up inside their organization, they will have a place to turn for information I believe at the center of this and consulting. Rest assured, I will discussion is the most powerful treat them as honestly and respectfully statement in all of sales, “The fear of as I have treated you. And you can loss is greater than the hope for gain.” hold me accountable. (Pause) Do you The person is more afraid of losing have two or three names?” (Smile, face with their friend or business look them in the eye and wait for their associate than they are willing to help reply.) you be more successful. Thankfully, human nature leads people to want to This is a very effective approach. help. The question becomes, “Can we 1) Clearly state in one sentence what remove fear from their path and you want. thereby open the gate for referrals?” 2) Clearly state your goal for the Here are a few suggestions… contact. 3) Give a clear When looking at a assurance you will list of all the reasons Rest assured, I will treat not damage their why people do not them as honestly and relationship. give referrals, the fear of damaging a respectfully as I have 4) And most importantly, give relationship would treated you. And you can them recourse back have to rank as a solid No.1. In fact, I hold me accountable. to you if you do mishandle the believe whatever process. would rank as the No. 2 reason would be so distant that it almost doesn’t The key is inviting them to hold matter. Addressing this fear up front is you accountable. It is such a the key to receiving referrals. refreshing change from what people expect to hear. It is almost too When the time is right, I have found tempting to pass up. They are not this to be a very effective approach: used to hearing a confident, well- 8
  9. 9. dressed, polished sales person who names from a long-time satisfied takes pride in his or her profession, customer are the most valuable. But I look them in the eye and invite will take a few names from a prospect accountability. Confidently lower your that has seen one of my presentations voice, speak slowly and you will be over cold dialing a phone any day. surprised at the response. Right? Ask! Does this work every time? No. Does One last point: the secret to a strong this work half of the time? No. Do you referral lead chain is that it is a chain. need it to work half the time to make Once you get the first referral, you a handsome living in sales? No. If only build rapport with the new party and one out of three people you ask give then ask: you referrals, and you can get two to three names at a time, you are on You know Mr. Smith, I am so glad Mr. your way. Jones referred me to you. This has been a great Look at it this way: conversation. Would would you rather be “The fear of loss is you feel comfortable given a list of 20 names greater than the hope giving me the names in your area to dial or for gain” is also in the of two or three one good referral? All business people like the reps I know would mind of the sales yourself that you feel take the referral. How professional. should be…” and you about 50 names on a are right back into the list? We still view the referral as process again. superior. You and I both know the referral is the best lead in the business and it is free for the asking. But too It is a chain. Don’t skip a link and often, we get out of the habit of break your own chain. All referral asking. Please understand “The fear of chains will end at some point. But it is loss is greater than the hope for gain” very rewarding to look back over a is also in the mind of the sales series of five or six sales and realize professional. I encourage you to think that they all started with one request about your own fears and start or get for a name, which led to the next, and back in the habit of asking for so on. After the first one, it is even referrals. easier. Sometimes we are afraid the mere asking for names will damage our Remember, learn to recognize the relationship and the party will be appropriate time, state clearly your angry. The only time I see this request with your goal and most happening is when we ask at the importantly offer strong accountability wrong time. Be sensitive to their mood for your actions. Now, have fun with it, and body language. get out there, and make a great living. This begs the question: When is the right time to ask for referrals? You can Remember, Enthusiasm sells! ask for a referral as soon as you have built good rapport with the other party. You do not need to wait until they have purchased multiple units or services before asking for names. Now, don’t get me wrong, a few 9
  10. 10. Helpful hints from the field Door Knocking: A Lost Art? By John Matovich Bob: Let’s go door knocking tomorrow and Like GPS Services help your business grow do some good face-to-face prospecting. and support your bottom line without the John: I am not comfortable with door need to talk. knocking. I am not very good at it. It just doesn’t seem to work for me. I would like to set an appointment with Bob: I used to look at door knocking that you to better understanding your goals way also. But now I have it figured out. and to show you what we are doing in so Let’s go together and I will show you the many other companies. Those who have ropes. taken the time to review our capabilities often say, “I had no idea Company Name The gentleman who taught me door could do all that.” Would Tuesday at 2:00 knocking really was named Bob. He was be a good time for an initial one of the great ones. A truly gracious conversation?” professional that made a great living by helping people see their need for his Let’s look at this approach. product. For Bob, it all started at the #1 Smile and clearly state your company name prospect’s door with a warm smile and an and your name as you present your business honest comfortable approach. Today, Bob card. is the Sales VP of his #2 Clearly state why you large national company. I am out in the community are there. In the above This is a skill that is well example it is “…to meet worth learning. today to meet new people new people…” and to put a name with a #3 Select one clear Good face-to-face face… My message is, “Co. message to deliver. I like, prospecting starts with a “Company Name is so Name Wireless is so much clear understanding of much more than voice who you are (the image more than voice services.” services.” This challenges you need to portray) people’s assumptions and what you are trying to accomplish. As about our services and opens up their always, the truth is the best approach. So need for more investigation. You could walk in and tell the truth. Clearly state the easily use any new technology promotion company you are with, who you are, why as your message. The key here is to only you are there and ask for an appointment. use one. Keep it short. It sounds something like this: #4 Always ask for a specific time in the future for an appointment. In doing this “Hello, I am with Company name, my people instantly know you are not looking name is John Matovich. I am out in the for their time right now. This lowers the community today to meet new people and pressure and sends the clear message to put a name with a face. I find it so that this is important enough for you to much more comfortable than meeting new take a second trip to see them. If they are people on the phone. Don’t you agree? I able to meet with you on the spot, they have one clear message to deliver to you; will say so by asking you if you have the Company Name is so much more than time. Of course the answer is always yes. voice services. We have many products #5 Deliver a one sentence commercial and applications which help businesses covering what others have experienced. just like yours. Only a few of our products You must use enthusiasm here! Be are voice related. All of our other products contagious with your professional 10
  11. 11. which you can drive to easily. This will excitement about what they are going to give you a concentrated time to focus and learn by meeting with you. practice your approach. Anything worth doing is worth doing wrong a few times. I Remember, the purpose of the drop by is encourage you to stick with the outline to set an appointment. The purpose of the and make the words your own. appointment is to learn their goals, etc. and to present our solutions. A good rule Carry a supply of business cards and a of thumb is to get out of the lobby before note pad, or take notes on your you start talking in-depth about their Blackberry. Do not walk in with a brief needs or our solutions. If they ask you case or large bundle of information. about our capabilities, give a Remember, you are there to short general answer and follow The hardest meet new people and set an up with, “It sounds like you may appointment for a return visit. have a need in this area, would door to open is Play the part. Tuesday at 2:00 be a good time your car door. to have an initial conversation?” At the end of 40 doors, you Keep driving for the should have notes on most of appointment. the doors you visited. You should know a contact name, or at least have a better Talk to whomever may greet you at the understanding of what that company is all door using the same approach. If they are about. If all goes right you should have not the correct person, they will quickly one or two set appointments. If you spend gain an understanding of what you are 2 hours knocking on doors, you will create trying to accomplish and point you in the around 1 to 2 hours of deskwork following right direction. Example: Oh, you need to up on the leads. Send thank you notes to speak with Linda, our Operations the people you meet no matter how brief Manager. If she is not available, try to the conversation. When you set leave the same message on her voice mail appointments, send written confirmation from a lobby phone or step outside and with a “forward looking” message. leave the same message from your cell phone. Stick with your message. On face value, the short notes and bits of information you gather during your walk Caution, if you are sent to “the cell phone” around will look insignificant. To the person, thank the receptionist for the focused professional, these are the small name (write it down for your records) and but strong beginnings of new business state, “I am looking for the person in relationships. It cannot be over stated: If charge of setting operation and business you fail to do the follow up work, your processes, would that be him / her as time in the field is completely wasted. well?” You need to get to a higher level Good follow up skills are a must to than the person commonly in charge of successful door knocking. the bills or phone programming. Too often they are in purchasing, which is the right The hardest door to open is your car door. place when someone wants to place an Once you get started and experience order. But purchasing is the wrong place success, creating new business contacts to introduce new ideas for consideration. can be quite enjoyable. Have fun with it! Prospects will sense you enjoy your work Choose a location with 40+ doors for you and will be more inclined to accept an to walk into or if you are in major appointment. accounts etc., make a list of 20 locations, Remember, Enthusiasm sells! 11